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James D. Huls and Associates

About Us

In today’s fast-changing Real Estate and Financial setting, you need expertise, fresh perspective and proven results from a team that is dedicated to work for you. Centrally located in Crystal Lake Illinois we are convenient to everyone from Chicago to Rockford and very accessible to our seven county areas of McHenry County, Lake County, Cook County, Kane County, Boone County, Will County and DuPage County.

The quality we provide to our clients is the total of our service, expertise and solutions. Being able to consistently deliver is why so many long-term clients have depended on us since our founding in 1980 — and why new clients turn to us every day for their Real Estate and Bankruptcy needs as well as trusting us with their wills, trusts and family estate concerns.

Now more than ever, you need a team of professionals that can deliver superior value and won’t hesitate to go the extra mile, we understand your needs and strive to go above and beyond your expectations and provide you with the very best possible solutions.


I was born and raised in Carthage, Illinois, a small town with a one-room schoolhouse, where I lived until I went to college at Bradley University to graduate with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and Management. From there I moved to Chicago to graduate from John Marshall Law School. I continued in my academic pursuits at Western Illinois University to study accounting and finance. I’ve been a member of the Illinois State Bar Association since 1976, and I’ve practiced civil law in McHenry, Lake, Kane, and Cook counties since 1980 with no desire to slow down practicing law anytime soon.

My wife Linda and I made the decision to move from Hancock County Illinois, where I was practicing as States Attorney, to Crystal Lake 34 years ago. We liked the mix of city and rural life, the hometown-feel with urban potential. Our office building reflects the same balance of the modern and historical feel that flows throughout Crystal Lake. Our office is a 100 year old Dutch colonial two-story farm home that has been converted into office space. The support beams came from McCormick Place having survived the Chicago Fire, and pictures of the original homeowners still hang on its walls hiding the phone lines and high speed Wi-Fi that run throughout the building to support my six assistants and associate attorney Michael Barrett.  

What I like best about practicing civil law is that I enjoy a challenge; each day at our office is vastly different from the day before. What sets me apart from other attorneys in the area is that I truly listen to my agents and clients when others would pass them over. Taking the time to hear about what their concerns are and reaching a mutually agreeable outcome is what motivates me. My goal is to provide the best quality service and most sound advice to our clients. The staff that I’ve hired share my desire to treat each client as an individual and not a file number. As a part of helping others, I am a board member of the Lake and McHenry County Consumer Credit Counseling Services, where clients receive counseling service at little or no costs in the areas of consumer debt, bankruptcy, foreclosure, and short sale.

My office keeps me busy, but spending time with my wife, daughter, son-in-law, and our two young grandchildren make each day worthwhile. If you see me around town with my family please say hello, they would love to meet you.


CRYSTAL LAKE (March 17, 2014) – Huls has strengthened his expanding Real Estate Law practice in McHenry, Lake and Cook County with the arrival of Michael Barrett, who brings; 25 years of experience as a practicing attorney.

Attorney James Huls says, “Michael has built an impressive wide-ranging and sophisticated practice representing Real Estate and Bankruptcy legal compliance matters. As this office’s Real Estate and Financial practice continues to grow and represent clients throughout the Chicago Land area, a lawyer with Mike’s experience and understanding of all the most technical and current issues is enormously valuable.

Huls Law practice has grown organically from within since 1987 and is now the time for the addition of an experienced and qualified attorney like Michael Barrett said James D. Huls. “We’re very pleased to have him join us and look forward to further growth in the Bankruptcy practice with his contribution.”

Mr. Barrett added, “I’m very pleased to join this office of first-rate professionals who are committed to developing meaningful, ongoing relationships with clients by adding my knowledge in bankruptcy law. I look forward to working and building my practice here.”

Mr. Barrett earned his Juris Doctorate in 1989 from Northern Illinois University and a B.S. in Finance in 1986 from Northern Illinois University. Michael Barrett is very involved in the St. Margaret Mary Catholic Church and community. He is involved in the Knights of Columbus as a 4th Degree Knight and is a local and district degree team member. Michael is the current Lay Director of the Christ Renews His Parish program and assists his church as a Eucharistic Minister. He is a past President of the Illinois Jaycees and is a past legal counsel for the United States Junior Chamber of Commerce. He is currently a precinct committeeman candidate in McHenry County for the Republican Party.


I attended University of Cincinnati with a major in marketing. I owned an advertising agency ACT Images for 10 years here in Crystal Lake and published a weekly ad paper for as many years. I noticed how quickly our area was growing, and with that growth, big box stores were taking over our quiet little town. JD Huls, a long time client of ACT Images, asked if I would come on board in 2001 and we started American Home Mortgage of Illinois together which I managed until 2006. At that time, I became a REALTOR® and started working directly with real estate law in JD’s office. I’m now the closing agent for James D. Huls and Associates as well as overseeing all brand marketing, social media, and educational seminars that we do every year. I’m very excited about adding bankruptcy to our mix of services as well as immigration law here at James D. Huls and Associates and I look forward to being able to help people in these areas as well as real estate.

I met my wife Connie in 7th grade and we have been best friends ever since. She works in Elgin at Ball Corporation. Our empty nest is in Crystal Lake which brings me to my daughter Amber, married to a youth pastor, ministers in the inner city of Chicago – the Englewood area. My new grandson Justus is the love of my life and if you like, friend me on Facebook to see hundreds and soon to be thousands of adorable photographs of him.

My passion for the Arts is forever growing and along with that, I enjoy teaching young actors here in the US as well as India, but that’s a story for another time.


I am passionate about being successful in my career and family life. I worked for a title company for 13 years and now currently here at JD Huls office for 4 years. I was born and raised in Woodstock, same as my parents, who I admire. They not only grew up in Woodstock but met in high school and have been married now 46 years. I have been with my husband for 19 years, and married for 9 of those. Together we have my amazing son who is 7 years old. I love my family and my career. I find working here at James D. Huls and Associates very rewarding and enjoy being able to work with all different types of people and to strive for the best option at hand for each individual situation. I believe in finding the best yet most comfortable steps for what might be an uncomfortable decision and walking along side our clients as together we implement those hard choices made until we can come to a comfortable ending.


I was born in Mexico and was brought to this country at the age of 6. In 1976 my mother, looking for a better life for her and her 6 children, moved our family to Colorado to be with my father who had already been living in Boulder for 4 years. One year later, my father was offered a job at a steel company in Crystal Lake, IL. My parents, always thinking about what best for their family, packed the children in their 1956 Station wagon and off they moved to the great state of Illinois.

In the last 25 years, I have worked in many areas of the finance industry. Being bilingual has helped me serve a dual market which, I must say, I am very proud of. I worked about 4 years in the banking industry before moving to an office manager position where I handled the HR Department, payroll, customer service, and collection department for about 5 years. I then decided to terminate my position with this company so that I could work with another big corporation where I worked very hard to get my Life Insurance License, Property and Casualty License, and Investment Series 63 so that I could be productive in sales and in recruiting. During this time I was also processing mortgage loans. Looking for a change, my husband and I moved our family to McHenry County where we together started working in the mortgage industry; there I did mortgage processing for about 6 years and one day I received a call from Attorney JD Huls asking if I would be interested in joining his team. After speaking to JD for the first time I realized that he was a person who cared and truly wanted to help others, and I immediately felt like we would be a good team.

I am very involved with my church the Iglesia Casa De Vida in McHenry. Being in charge of the women's ministry, the superintendent of Sunday school, and the secretary and the co-treasurer of the church has kept me very busy when I am not cooking a delicious meal for my family, or working at the law office of JD Huls. I go to sleep every night knowing that I helped make a difference in another family.


My name is Nelyda Lara and I was born and raised in Crystal Lake, IL. I’ve been fortunate enough to work with Attorney JD Huls as of 2012. Primarily, I work with the short sale files. I enjoy coming into work every day knowing I help people through what may be a hassle of a situation. I enjoy expanding my knowledge and experience through research and seminars.


I graduated from the University of Illinois at Chicago. I explored the field of library science by working in law libraries. Some years later, after staying home to raise my children, I decided to fulfill my long-standing desire to get my paralegal certification at Elgin Community College. After I received my paralegal certificate, I worked in a busy litigation law firm in Cook County, handling foreclosure defense and loan modifications, as well personal injury and Workers' Compensation. What I really wanted to do, though, was to help serve clients in McHenry county. Fortunately, working for James D. Huls and Associates allows me the opportunity to bring my skills and passion for real estate, short sales, and bankruptcy matters to use to help the people in my own local community.


I grew up in Crystal Lake, and after graduation from Central High School I moved to Orlando, Florida to work at a church in their high school ministry and to start taking classes towards an English degree. After some time, I moved back to Crystal Lake to be closer to my family and in 2007 I graduated from Judson University in Elgin with a Bachelor’s Degree in English Education. Since I have a passion for all things tropical and white sandy beaches, I chose to teach in Central America where I could walk through rain forests and salty turquoise blue waters whenever I pleased.

After teaching English in Costa Rica, Central America I came back to the US without a plan for the next chapter of life in July of 2010. Two days after being back State side I was watching the Crystal Lake 4th of July fireworks show with some family and friends at Main Beach when JD (who I’ve known for about 20 years, having grown up with his daughter) offered me a temporary summer position “until I landed on my feet.” At the time, I was thankful to have a position anywhere, let alone for a person I have known for so long and who I knew would patiently teach me everything there is to know of real estate law.

As luck would have it, my temp position turned into a busy and challenging career. My first year and a half I worked in the short sales department where I learned the ins-and-outs of how to negotiate short sales. My most recent years I’ve worked on all other types of contracts that move through our office including: regular sales, traditional purchases, short sale purchases, REO purchases, and HUD purchases. In this position I’m able to work on a file from the date that the contract is signed until the day of closing. Here I am able to give guidance to my clients every step of the way, which is something I really enjoy doing.

I may no longer be able to go to bed listening to monkeys climb across my tin roof, but I am in a great position where I’m able to answer people’s questions, teach them “why we do the things we do”, guide first time buyers through each step of the purchase process, encourage clients through all the stressful twists and turns of buying and selling a home, and work for a man I greatly respect and admire. Several years later, I am still very thankful to have my “summer temp” position with JD Huls.